August 26, 2011

Welcome to the 2011-2012 School Year

Welcome Weekend on our residential campuses in Florida, Michigan and Texas 2011 marks the start of the 52nd school year at Northwood University. And while things are different in many respects from that first start in 1959 our mission remains the same: to develop the future leaders of a global, free enterprise society.

Welcome Weekend sessions will include events that are universal to all three campuses (student resident move-ins, orientations for Resident Assistants, student meet and greets and organization fairs), as well as those that are unique to each (an Ethics Ceremony in Florida, a new Crossover Ceremony in Michigan and a luncheon with Texas Provost Dr. Kevin Fegan).

Convocation assemblies will take place in Florida on August 30th, in Texas on September 1st and in Michigan on September 6th.  The spotlight of each will be our shared calling as students, faculty and staff and the importance of keeping our focus on the promise that the coming year holds for each of us. As always, the present is not a time to look back – save for the lessons and wisdom of the past – but rather the opportunity to remain concentrated on the tasks at hand and the vision and understanding that they will determine our future.

Campus Life & Activities

Campus-wide our student organizations and associations and student life services staff are getting the new school year underway in grand fashion.

Florida Seahawks

In Florida, students, faculty and staff are maneuvering Welcome Weekend through Hurricane Irene – if that is not testimony to the Northwood resolve I am not sure what is.

Move-in day on Florida Campus is Saturday and includes a “Welcome Pool Party” for new and returning students hosted by Student Services and the Student Government Association, with support from the Auto Show Executive Board. Orientation will follow on Sunday.

Seahawk students, faculty and staff are also busy working on several important events to follow in the weeks and months ahead: 30-plus local businesses and organizations are expected to help welcome new and returning students to the West Palm Beach community at the 3rd Annual “In the Know” Expo and Volunteer Fair on September 15th.

Plans for the 2011 Seahawk Madness & Hoops Mania, which takes place every October, are also under way. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of games and contests, to meet and greet the 2011-2012 women’s and men’s basketball teams and enjoy the always entertaining dance-off competition between all of our Florida athletic teams.

Finally, Seahawk student leaders and their respective organizations are also finalizing plans for the 2011 Halloween Horror Nights Trip to Universal Studios in Orlando as well as our 2012 Homecoming which will take place this coming February.

Michigan Timberwolves

In Michigan. Timberwolf students will have several offerings and events throughout the weekend in which to participate, including: A health immunization clinic and fitness programs, Commuter Student Meet and Greet, the Timberwolf BBQ, an evening Dance Party and Church Reloaded. The Student Organization Fair will provide new and returning students the opportunity to learn about and engage with student organizations such as the American Marketing Association, DECA, Greek fraternities and sororities, Fashion Group, and the Mock Trial Association. In addition, fall Homecoming plans are underway which also means preparations for 48th International Auto Show are also in “full speed” mode.

Incoming students in Michigan will be welcomed into the Northwood family with a new Crossover Ceremony particular to the Midland Campus. Inspired by the tradition and meaning of the Crossover Ceremony started by our Texas Campus, the Timberwolf Crossover is yet another way that we are trying to build and emphasize the lasting bonds and engagement necessary for the well-being of our students, the University as a whole, and the continued functioning of a free and ethical society.

Texas Knights

In Texas, our student Knights will participate in the Student Organization Fair hosted by EXCEL and the Student Government Association (SGA). Always a popular and exciting event, the mission of the fair is to introduce and integrate new students to Northwood’s “engaged campus” culture. To that end, the Student Government Association is also working with our Career Services department to host and manage the NU Knights Peer Mentor program and the Knight Career Quest Mentor Program, two key offerings on our Texas Campus.

All new students will participate in Squire Camp which has been a part of orientation for over five years. The program starts with move-in day for residents as they get to know their fellow residents and RAs. Following move-in day all new students come together for a two-day event of team building, leadership and communication skills as well as developing lasting bonds with new friends. Students hear presentations on topics such as crisis management response, campus traditions and campus and community engagement opportunities. Student also participate in a ropes course challenge and team building exercises. Recreational events are planned on and off campus culminating with the Ethics Ceremony and the softball challenge between new and returning students. The objective of the event is to ensure students have the information they need to succeed in their first year and a support network of peers.

The Knights Convocation ceremony on September 1st will include a new student “Texas Northwood Spirit” t-shirt as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Knight’s Cove, a new 62-bed, co-ed facility. The two-story building, designed by Merriman Associates Architects, is the first student hall of its kind on our Texas Campus and will provide our students with state of the art housing, including a student lounge and laundry facilities on each floor.

Fall Homecoming plans are also underway in Cedar Hill which includes our Texas Crossover Ceremony one of the most meaningful events anywhere within the Northwood community and now, as you know, one that has inspired a new ceremony in Michigan.  Texas alumni will also be part of the annual homecoming weekend festivities by competing in the alumni baseball and softball games.


Adding to the excitement of the new school year is the introduction of our full-time master of business administration degree (MBA) from our DeVos School of Management on our Florida and Texas Campuses. The addition of these programs follows the introduction of the 24-month, part-time program on the same campuses last year. From this day forward, both full-time students and working professionals in the West Palm Beach, Florida and Cedar Hill, Texas regions will have the opportunity to master the managerial skills necessary to lead and drive healthy change in their chosen and established industries and communities.

Finally, a new academic year also means a new season of intercollegiate athletics for our Florida Seahawks, Michigan Timberwolves and Texas Knights. NU’s football, soccer, volleyball, cross country and golf programs will enter play and we look forward to another season of excellence on the fields and courts of competitive athletics.

Make this a Year to Remember

As we are well aware, America still finds itself at one of the most important turning points in its history. Challenges we all wish were “long gone” are before us still and everywhere one can see a yearning and hunger for new and better leadership.

No matter who we are or what position we hold within Northwood it is imperative that each of us – students, faculty, staff, supporters, and friends – remain squarely focused on the achievement of the work before us, and that we do so together. As the great poet John Donne reminded us, “No man is an island entire of itself.” Indeed, it is only by working with one another that we can ensure the actualization of our full potential, both as individuals and ONE Northwood University.

I wish each and every one of you a healthy and prosperous academic year. Let’s work to make it our best ever!

Have a great weekend.

Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640
989.837.4203 (phone)
989.832.9590 (fax)